[Photo: Mr. George Beckley (seated) with Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole (standing); Hawaiʻi. SP 54164]

Pehea mai ʻoe, ē Malulani?

Happy Mele Monday!

Today’s featured composition keeps us basking in the afterglow of Father’s Day. This mele, composed by Mrs. Kinoole Pittman, was written for William C. Beckley and dedicated to his son George Beckley.

(Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Pehea mai ʻoe, ē Malulani?
How do you fare, O Malulani?

ʻO ke oki pau ʻoe o ka lehua
Thou most wonderful of lehua blossoms

Lihilihi koʻowai o ka uka,
With petals drenched with the upland rain,

Mūkī wai a ka manu.
The blossom sipped by the birds.

A he aha kāu hana ʻo ka uka ‘iuʻiu o Hualālai?
And what do you do in that distant upland of Hualālai?

E hoʻopō ana paha ʻoe me Hiku
Perhaps spending the night with Hiku

Ka wahine po ʻiu o ka nahele.
The woman in the most distant forest.

He inoa no Moʻoheau-i-ka-ulu-hei-malama.
This is my chant for Moʻoheau-i-ka-ulu-hei-malama.

[Call Number: MS SC Roberts 5.1, pg. 67]

Mele are an invaluable primary resource for Hawaiian scholarship and cultural connection. The Welo Hou: Building Connections to the Roberts Mele Collection project, funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve the digitization, indexing, and accessibility of a unique and treasured collection of mele dating from pre-Western contact to the early 1900s. This pilot project will serve as a model for improved access to and increased engagement with the Bishop Museum Library & Archives’ other mele collections.

Welo Hou, or to unfurl once again, aims to provide more opportunities for researchers of all levels of Hawaiian language and cultural fluency to access the Roberts Collection with ease, and honors the connections between Hawaiian voices of the past and our community of the present.

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